Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Pre-order Book!
Pre-order Book!
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Ally Sheedy: On lesbian daughter, mother, being an activist
by Sarah Toce
2011-11-16

This article shared 33538 times since Wed Nov 16, 2011
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


She began her professional dance career with the American Ballet Theatre in New York City at age six; wrote her first book, She Was Nice to Mice at age 12; and starred in the monumentally popular films,; The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo's Fire and WarGames as a young adult.

Brat Pack original Alexandra Elizabeth "Ally" Sheedy may not be a lesbian (sorry, ladies), but her investment in the LGBTQI community goes unmatched—both her mother, civil-rights activist Charlotte Sheedy, and daughter, Rebecca, are gay. Her passion to serve and shine a light on the community she calls home is unflappable.

When I reached out to Ally for an interview about LGBTQI homeless youth and her work surrounding The Ali Forney Center, she responded immediately. Her kind demeanor, generosity and loyalty to the equal rights fight in the United States was evident and I was humbled and honored to engage in a very candid, personal chat with her.

Windy City Times: Gays and lesbians around the world have loved your work since The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo's Fire and, of course, it goes without saying—High Art. Do you feel a sense of social responsibility to speak out regarding gay rights and injustices?

Ally Sheedy: Yes, absolutely. Yes; 100% I do feel like I have a social responsibility. I feel that if you are a well-known person and you have a voice to bring attention to something, it's nothing but honorable to do so. I specifically have my heart in the LGBTQI cause and a lot of it is very personal. I feel obligated to do this work but, at the same time, it's a pleasure.

WCT: Do you feel a sense of loyalty and love permeating from your lesbian fans? I could name three women off the top of my head who've loved you for over 20 years. Being that you are the subject of this attention, do you feel that community around you?

AS: Yes, yes, I absolutely do! I feel like I come from this community because I have a gay mom and a gay daughter. … I've been surrounded by actors my entire life and [many of them are gay]. … This is my world. I feel so much a part of the greater LGBTQI community.

WCT: Now that your daughter has come out to you, it begs the question: How did you handle the news when your mother came out to you?

AS: The thing is that with both my mom and my daughter, [coming out] wasn't really an "event" per say. There's no event where somebody says, "Let me come out to you."… I mean, it does happen with some people where they choose to come out on the Internet—which is their thing. I don't remember a time when I had the thought that, "Oh, my God…my mother is gay!" because it was an ongoing conversation. Just the same, there wasn't a day when I thought, "Oh, now my daughter is gay!" It's just a part of life. It's like, "Here's mom and here's mom's life" and "Here's Rebecca and here's Rebecca's life." I can't imagine things being any different.

WCT: Your mom's work in the civil-rights movement was profound. Do you think her acceptance of all people regardless of race, gender, religion, sexuality, and so on helped mold your ideals regarding the LGBTQI community?

AS: My mom's been such a champion. She's always been really politically conscious and active. That's what I remember growing up. I mean, I remember growing up during the women's liberation movement when people were gay, they were straight, they were this, they were that…there were no stereotypes … so, I never had a moment where people were straight and then they were suddenly gay. It was my world.

WCT: Do you have any advice for parents finding it hard to accept that their sons or daughters might be gay?

AS: My answer to that question is basically, "Do you love that person or not?" It's difficult for me to understand a family member judging or not loving or accepting another family member because they are gay. It's like when a member of the family marries someone who is of another race or religion. It's just not an issue for me. Quite frankly, I take offense at the whole thing and if somebody came to me and said, "Oh, my God. … My daughter is marrying a Jewish man. My life is over," it is no different for me than if someone has a problem with a member of their family being gay or of a different race. It's all the same thing to me so I don't really get where that comes from in somebody. My only response to that question is, "Do you love that person or not?"

WCT: It reminds me of Herman Cain making the statement that he was born Black, but people are not born gay.

AS: It's funny. … This is something I've become more aware of recently. There are two schools of thought on this subject in the LGBTQI community. The question being, "Is being gay a choice or not?" Who cares, really? If you were born with your sexual attraction ingrained in you, then that doesn't really explain bisexuality. Some people even in the community think it's a choice and others think it is not a choice. I say, "So what? Why is it a conversation about being moral?" It doesn't make you morally superior because you were born African-American. He was born Black and his choice was to be Republican.

My daughter really believes that it's not a choice and that you just come out and are either born gay or not. I think that is what she believes. I don't want to put words in her mouth because it just annoys her. Who knows? I mean, my thing is … not being gay … I really don't think that I'm equipped to answer that question and I don't think any straight person is either, to tell you the truth. Where do we get off? What experience do we have that makes our opinion have weight, really? It's like a man saying you can't have an abortion.

WCT: You recently hosted an event in New York City for homeless LGBT youth. We'd love to hear more about the event and your involvement.

AS: I am very fond of this place called The Ali Forney Center. Homeless LGBT youth in New York City is a huge problem. We recently had a rally in Union Square to bring awareness to the cause. Most of my work is with Ali Forney and I also really love the work that The Trevor Project does and like to get involved in the events they do, too.

WCT: Personally, why do you think LGBT youth have it so rough in today's society when, from the outside, many people would believe it's getting easier to come out, join social groups, etc.?

AS: I don't know if the bullying is worse now or if there is more attention being paid to it. I know that the plight of the homeless kids now is awful. Because of television and the Internet, kids are recognizing themselves and that they might be gay earlier than perhaps we would have before all of the social media and everything.

The funding for homeless shelters here in New York has been cut and the problem with that is that there are very few places for a kid who is LGBTQI—especially for a kid who is currently questioning their sexuality and starting to identify themselves—to find a homeless shelter who will take them in. There aren't any beds anyway. Their plight is unique and it's really, really bad. Forty percent of the adults they receive are LGBTQI—huge number—and most of them are on the street.

In the winter they are more likely to suffer from depression, become involved with drugs and enter into prostitution to take care of themselves financially. Winter is especially bad for them and that is why we're trying to pick up the awareness about homeless LGBTQI youth. The Ali Forney Center is trying to make a plea to the older, more established LGBTQI adults in the community to say, "Please take care of these kids."

WCT: We asked Ally's fans to submit questions for this interview. Below are the four we chose to print.

What's in your purse, Ally?

Oh, that is a great question! In my purse I have a wallet, sunglasses, lip balm that I never remember to put on, a little vial of vanilla scented oil—which I also always forget to put on—and that's about it. A bag like everybody else's!

Do you prefer to work in television or film and, out of the two options, do you prefer comedy or drama?

Most of my work has been in movies, however, I started doing some television a bit more regularly with a three-episode arc on a show called Psych where I played a really crazy serial killer and I had a great time on that show. I also got this pilot called Modern Love and hopefully Lifetime will go with it as series and, in that case, I'd be shooting it in New York—which is perfect because I live here. I think I would like to do more work on television. I've really enjoyed it.

Comedy or drama? Actually, I like both. I think I have a good range and can actually do both. Comedy is more fun, what can I say? When a really great part comes along that is emotional and complex, it's great, too. I find that when I am working on a drama it sort of takes over my whole life and that can be exhausting.

Do you have any movies coming out soon?

I did an indie film that John Leguizamo wrote and directed called Ghetto Klown. He's so cool. One of my favorites, Rosie Perez, is in it as well. I just love her. We're hoping it gets distribution and is released soon, but I haven't heard anything about it yet.

Will there ever be The Breakfast Club Part II? If so, would you agree to be a part of it?

There will never be a Breakfast Club Part II. [Director] John Hughes never wanted it to get made. He would never have made it and nobody ever had any rights to be able to do it [without him], so it will never happen.

Find out more about The Ali Forney Center for homeless LGBTQI youth at www.aliforneycenter.org .


This article shared 33538 times since Wed Nov 16, 2011
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Ben Platt, Cynthia Erivo, Miley Cyrus, 'Halston' series, Pink 2021-05-16
- Tony winners Ben Platt (Aug. 13) and Cynthia Erivo (Aug. 20) are among the musicians slated to perform during the 2021 Citi Music Series on the Today show, Playbill noted. The series will include in-person concerts ...


Gay News

Black Lives, Black Words Int'l Project, Writers Theatre to premier Ride Share 2021-05-13
--From a press release - Glencoe, IL— Black Lives, Black Words co-founders Reginald Edmund and Simeilia Hodge-Dallaway and Writers Theatre Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma announce Ride Share, a new ...


Gay News

FILM NewFest announces summer film series NewFest Pride 2021-05-13
- NewFest, New York's leading LGBTQ+ film and media organization, announced programming for NewFest Pride, a new summer film series taking place this year from June 4-7. All film screenings and events will be available virtually to ...


Gay News

FILM Tello Films founder starts new production entity 2021-05-13
- Veteran filmmaker Christin Baker, who launched the successful LGBTQ+, SVOD platform, Tello Films, in 2009—the first network dedicated to telling stories featuring and about lesbian/queer women—announced the launch of a ...


Gay News

Accidental Shakespeare Company presents virtual Romeo and Juliet 2021-05-12
--From a press release - Accidental Shakespeare Company presents a virtual film production of Romeo and Juliet, to air in five weekly installments on their YouTube channel, free of charge, beginning on May 15, 2021. Links to each episode will be ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Tig Notaro, films, E. Lynn Harris, Nick Jonas 2021-05-09
- Emmy- and Grammy-nominated stand-up comedian Tig Notaro (HBO's Tig Notaro: Boyish Girl Interrupted), will return to HBO this summer with the first-ever fully animated stand-up special, HBO announced. The special ...


Gay News

DANCE Hubbard Street's 'Half of Us' debuting May 20 2021-05-03
- Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's (HSDC) 43rd season will be completed with the virtual world premiere of new work by choreographer/director Robyn Mineko Williams entitled "Half of Us," on Thursday, May 20, at 7:30 p.m. The 16-minute ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Master of None,' children's book, Kristen Stewart, expectant couple 2021-05-02
- Master of None is coming back—but this time, the series will focus on Lena Waithe's character, Denise, out.com noted. Master of None, created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang for Netflix, starred Ansari for the first ...


Gay News

Actress Olympia Dukakis dies at 89 2021-05-01
- Olympia Dukakis—who won an Oscar for her supporting role in the 1987 hit Moonstruck and starred in Look Who's Talking and Mr. Holland's Opus as well as iterations of TV's Tales of the City—died May 1 at her home in New York City ...


Gay News

VIRTUAL CINEMA MeToo drama 'Slalom' airing at Siskel starting May 7 2021-04-29
- The Cannes-selected #MeToo drama Slalom—the debut from filmmaker Charlène Favier—will run at the Gene Siskel Film Center's Virtual Cinema starting Friday, May 7. The French movie is also currently playing ...


Gay News

Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscars pre-party raises $3M 2021-04-26
- The 29th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards® Pre-Party hosted by Emmy- and Tony-winning actor Neil Patrick Harris alongside Sir Elton John and David Furnish, raised $3 million for the global effort to end AIDS, ...


Gay News

Exceptions the rule at 2021 Oscars 2021-04-26
- After a year that saw the motion picture industry upended by both the COVID-19 pandemic and an already shifting entertainment landscape, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences pressed on with the 93rd Annual Oscars ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Joe Exotic' series, Luther Vandross, singer's announcement, star couples 2021-04-25
- Hedwig and the Angry Inch's John Cameron Mitchell has been tapped to play the title character opposite Kate McKinnon in the series Joe Exotic (working title), Deadline reported. The limited series centers on Carole Baskin (McKinnon), ...


Gay News

Netflix to debut limited series 'Halston' on May 14 2021-04-23
- On what would have been legendary fashion designer Roy Halston Frowick's 89th birthday (on April 23), Netflix stated it was honoring the visionary icon by announcing the Friday, May 14, global premiere date for the five-episode ...


Gay News

GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics hands out Dorian Awards 2021-04-19
--From a press release - LOS ANGELES, CA, April 18, 2021 — Nomadland, the spare and fact-based drama of a group of struggling Americans living off the grid; the vivid blueswoman biopic Ma Rainey's Black Bottom; the family-happy fish-out-of-water fable Minari; ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.